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Inventory Control

Inventory Control Image

By Olivia Wann, JD

Over ordering can result in pushing the practice over budget and risk expiration of products prior to use. Not having enough supplies leads to frustration especially when you reach for a product only to find an empty shelf. How do we implement good inventory control?

First assess your capacity to store items. If you have a small office, space may not allow ordering a larger supply of products despite it being on sale. Determine how frequently you go through products. You gather this data by implementing an ordering system. Many years ago when I worked in a dental office, I simply created an index card for each item. I listed the product name / manufacturer and the quantity ordered and price paid. I also included where I purchased the product. Although the use of index cards as an ordering system is quite antiquated, you can accomplish the same goal using an Excel spreadsheet, a bar code system available through your vendor or a software program designed for this purpose.

A key consideration is to rotate the stock, always placing the older items in the front and the newer items in the box to avoid products going out of date. Maintain items in their original box in case there is a recall and also to reference expiration dates.

Prior to purchasing a new product, test it out. We often find a dentist may order something new at a convention, only to have this item pushed back in the supply closet never to be used again. Test samples and perhaps consider having the team providing input on this purchase to assure the product or device fits into your program.

Organization is key. Keep your stock organized, neat and easy to find.

Hopefully these tips will help you effectively managing your inventory so that you can maintain a good control of your inventory.

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